Up through July 2005 I enjoyed warm-weather quiet time on our screened porch – in Maryland. Even on an August morning so sticky my glasses fogged when first walking from the AC to natural air, I rarely missed – reading, studying, journaling – in the presence of God; it was a delight. Since coming to Texas in August of 2005 my quiet time perches have been only indoors: first, my mother-law’s kitchen counter (Not so conducive to spreading out) and then dining tables in two different apartments.
My trusted quiet-time companion remained a paperback Daily Walk Bible – the Living Bible translation – (or should we say a paraphrase?) I found this copy in 1996 in a used bookstore on Maryland Avenue in Annapolis for $6.50. Over the years, and despite the addition of other study Bible editions, even a different translation of the Daily Walk Bible, (DWB) this well-worn copy greets me, challenges me and comforts me. (No I am not selling Bibles!) Both a devotional and reference, the layout breaks Scripture into portions that nourish me through a year, and inform my understanding of the daily passages. Once a week, the book directs a time of worship, anchored to a Psalm and a hymn, all connected to the portion of Scripture I have just read during the previous six days. Its pages bear several different colors of underlings – the bright pinks, blues, yellows, and orange testify to the times God met me – getting my attention.
But some portions have no markings – testifying to my slow turning heart.
Today’s caption for the passage, Jeremiah 21-25, is a pithy summation of Judah’s waywardness, “Turning Too Late.” It has never been an easy portion to read. I can surely see my foolishness when Jeremiah speaks so plainly to people who were going into exile for 70 dark years in Babylon. God (through His prophets) warned and warned about the discipline that was coming for their persistent idolatry – His people ignored Him. I know God spoke to Israel in ways that are not always the same as He speaks to the church – or me – but His theme is the same: “Turn unto Me and be saved.”(Isaiah 44:22; Jeremiah 18:11) God chastens the slow turners – and that principle never changes.
Yet, I am often way too slow turning around. And avoiding the Bible, whatever translation, can really slow an already turn down! I like my own way – and after all my own way is not really so bad – when you look at me compared to . . . say, the Proverbs 31 woman, or Mary, or the Lord Jesus?
Whoops! Turning back even today to Him who alone has the words of Life!
God's laws are perfect.
They protect us, make us wise, and give us joy and light.
God's laws are pure, eternal, just.
They are more desirable than gold.
They are sweeter than honey dripping from a honeycomb.
For they warn us away from harm and give success to those who obey them.
But how can I ever know what sins are lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
And keep me from deliberate wrongs;
help me to stop doing them.
Only then can I be free of guilt and innocent of some great crime.
May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you,O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.(Psalm 19:7-14 TLB -- emphases added)